3 teachers, principal disciplined over student with autism’s ‘most annoying male’ award

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GARY, Ind. — Three teachers and a school principal have been disciplined in response to the incident in an Indiana school in which a student with autism received the “most annoying male” award.

According to a statement released Friday by the school district, an internal investigation was launch after parents of a fifth grade student said their son was humiliated at an awards luncheon.

Akalis Castejon is non-verbal and had just finished the fifth grade at Bailly Preparatory Academy in Gary. The school ended with a special awards luncheon for the students.

Rick Castejon, Akalis’ father said they gave out awards for things like “best student,” “funniest,” “class clown,” and other categories.

He said his son was singled out by students and teacher and received the “most annoying male award.”

Akalis didn’t understand that the award was pointing out and making fun of his behavior, and was so proud he wanted to show his mother the trophy.

His mother, Estella Castejon, said when she saw the award, she couldn’t believe it. She called the school immediately.

“For a teacher to do that, I believe it was a huge mistake. I also feel it’s how she feels about my son,” she said.

Friday the school issued a statement that said the investigation resulted in “in three teachers being served preliminary determination notice of contract cancellation. The school’s principal has been placed on administrative leave pending an additional investigation.”

“Our main concern is the well-being of the children who have been entrusted to us,” said Dr. Pete Morikis, Emergency Manager for the District. “Their safety, physically and emotionally, is our top priority.”

The family says it plans to move to Valparaiso and into a new school district for the start of the next school year.


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